Welcome to the Black Hills

We get it. You’re probably thinking, “Where has the military sent me?”

If you are like me when I was stationed here in 2002, I had only a vague idea of where South Dakota was, and it only brought to mind images of frozen tundra and isolation. My husband, on the other hand, was ecstatic that we were being stationed in an outdoorsman’s paradise. As you can see, because we are still living here, I got over my trepidation of the area and actually really like the place.

Here are some fun facts and information about the area to help you better understand where you will be living for the next few years…or more.

  • South Dakota is the 17th largest state but the 5th smallest by population in the country.

  • The two largest cities are Sioux Falls (to the east) and Rapid City (to the west).
    • You’ll hear locals talk about West River and East River. The state is split down the middle by the Missouri River and there is friendly competition between the two sides of the state. West River is the Best River, but I’m biased.
  • The State Capitol is Pierre. (Pronounced peer, not pee-AIR.)
  • The population of South Dakota is about 880,000 people. So while this is a big area, the majority of the population is rural.

Get more fun facts here! or Check out our relocation page.


Just like any other base, to truly appreciate your time here, you need to get out and see the sights. Here are some resources for you so you are prepared to take in the Hills year-round.



Equipment Rentals

Area Attractions

Local Events

Retail Locations

Dining Establishments (and Discounts)


If you have questions, please don’t hesitate reaching out to us. We’re happy to help get you the information you need so you can get connected and enjoy the area you’re calling home. Welcome to the Black Hills of South Dakota! You’re going to love it here.

~ Lynn Kendall, South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority